6 Free Online Interactive White Boards

by Kelly Walsh on April 18, 2010

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An update to last April’s post about free web-based IWBs.

Last April, I wrote a post about a few Online Interactive Whiteboards that I had checked out. That post remains one of my most popular posts, so obviously this is a topic of interest to a lot of people. [Note to readers: There is now an updated version of this post, with new links added, and apps that are no available removed, here: "6 Free Online Collaborative Interactive White Boards – 2012 Update". - KW 11/5/12]

I figured it was time for an update, to check out new tools, and to see if there have been any changes with the apps I reviewed last year. Below I have listed 6 web-based Interactive White Board applications, and provided a little info about each. This is followed by a comparative table of some desirable functions.

Scribblar appears to have evolved a bit since my review last year. This time I was able to get it to work. This is a nice tool for collaborating. You can easily invite others to participate, and there are plenty of useful tools for drawing and editing. You can also chat or use voice to communicate with each other. You can save images (use the Snapshot icon, which will save images to the Assets pane, where they can be downloaded from). Scribblar is definitely worth trying out!
[Ed Note: As of August 2012, Dabbleboard has been shut down. Sorry!] I loved Dabbleboard last year when I took it for a test run, and have continued to use it from time to time since. It’s a useful, easy to use white board tool, with some solid functionality. I recommend giving it a try if you are interested in using a free online collaborative whiteboard.
  ImaginationCubed.com, from GE, was another tool I instantly took to in my review last year. This a simple, straightforward tool. It doesn’t have all the bells and whistles of some of the other tools, but simple and dependable are good qualities. [Ed Note: As of July 2011, it appears that this tool has been taken off line! - KW]
I didn’t come across Scriblink last year when I reviewed sites. I really like what I see, but … try as I might I couldn’t successfully interact with another user. It was easy to invite someone to collaborate, but they did not end up on my board. I could also save and send a board, but again, there was no interaction taking place. I found no FAQ, no Help, nothing to explain how to make this work. [If anyone has successfully collaborated with Scriblink, please comment and let us know the steps you followed.]
Writeboard is a text-only collaboration tool, not a drawing based tool. At first, I found this to be a turn-off, but after using the other tools, I realized that this is a good idea. If your goal is to collaborate with others on the development of a text document, the other tools here are really not functional for that. I gave Writeboard a quick test, and it was easy to use, but honestly I came away feeling that Google Docs does a better job of this.
Skrbl is still in beta and there’s a note right on their front page (as of this writing) stating, “skrbl is back up but some services may still be affected we’ll be testing and updating ASAP”. It looks like Skrbl is still a “try at your own risk” situation.   


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Comparative Grid
Here’s a table comparing some of the features and functions of these different tools.

Application Collaboration functionality Work can be saved? Upload images? Other Notes
Scriblink  Yes, via email and URL (but I couldn’t get it to work!) Print, Save, or E-mail Yes Variety of paid  business plans available, providing extensive customization  (branding) options.
Writeboard  Yes, via email and URL. Yes – save the whiteboard, or export it to a txt or html file. No Writeboard is a text document collaboration tool, not a drawing collaboration tool.
Dabbleboard  Yes (via URL). Yes (save images to Library on their site, or download as a png file) Yes Nice library function. Also has an embed feature. Has Pro version that provides privacy and branding functionality.
Scribblar  Yes (via email invite) Yes (save whiteboard ‘room’ on their site, or download as a jpg file) Yes Has an easy to use ‘embed’ feature that lets you embed their whiteboard ‘room’ into another web page.
ImaginationCubed  Yes (via email invite) Print or send whiteboard via e-mail (can’t save as an image) No Nice ‘replay’ function that will replay everything users did in a whiteboard session
Skrbl  Only in paid version Can save work on their site? Not clear Beta release with issues.

 

Conclusions
Scribblar and Dabbleboard are both pretty solid tools and I recommend them both. ImaginationCubed is also a nice app, and it’s great for doing something simple and quick, but not as robust as Scribblar and Dabbleboard.

If you’re interested in collaborating on a text document, Writeboard is worth trying, but Google Docs is probably a better way to go (although you do have to set up a Google Account, which is free, but a little more involved).

Skrbl is just not ready for prime time, and Scriblink may not be quite there yet either (although it looks like it could be just as capable as Scribblar and Dabbleboard, if I could only figure out how to successfully collaborate with it!).

Next?
At the end of last week’s post, I suggested that I would probably be writing about my experiences with screen capture tool Camtasia this week, but obviously I chose not to. Camtasia just recently released an upgrade to Version 7, and I was just learning Camtasia 6, so I’m working on transitioning to and learning Ver 7 and will be blogging about it soon.

In the meanwhile, I’m heading down to Orlando this week to attend Campus Management’s CampusInsight Annual Conference (we use Campus Vue at the college where I work). Campus Management acquired Talisma last year, a major player in CRM in Higher Ed. I may take a bit of a tangent from my usual focus on instructional and classroom tech to discuss this exciting administrative/business app for Higher Ed.

Please be sure to stop back next week and see what we’re learning about!

Related Posts (if the above topic is of interest, you might want to check these out):
Interactive (online) Whiteboards – Part 2 of 2

Mimio’s unique approach to Interactive White Board technology
Learning about Interactive Whiteboards for the Classroom
9 insightful videos about using SMART Boards in the Classroom

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About 

Kelly Walsh is Chief Information Officer, and an adjunct faculty member, at The College of Westchester in White Plains, NY and is the founder and author of EmergingEdTech.com. As an education technology advocate, he frequently delivers presentations on a variety of related topics at schools and conferences across the U.S. Walsh is also an author, and online educator, periodically running Flipped Class Workshops online. His latest eBook, the Flipped Class Workshop in a Book was published in September, 2013 and is available here. In his spare time Walsh also writes, records, and performs original (and cover) songs (look for "K. Walsh" on iTunes or Amazon.com or check out his original song videos on here on YouTube ).

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{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

Fabian February 13, 2014 at 6:24 am

I developed an easy and free to use interactive whiteboard for one on one teaching, without any registration required. I hope you will enjoy it!

Fabian

SymbO December 15, 2013 at 10:44 am

Hello,

Great Article!

We have recently released the beta version of SymbO, the Whiteboard. Please feel free to review and send any comments. Note, we are customizing these as per user requirements and fixing the issues as noted .

http://thesymbo.com/

Thanks for providing platform to bring whiteboard community together.

The SymbO Team.

Learn Greek Online August 25, 2013 at 10:15 am

Great article. Good list of software to consider.

Greg July 30, 2013 at 2:13 am

Tutorsbox is also a great solution for online Science & Math tutoring and it also works on IPAD (No Flash). http://tutorsbox.com

It has a Free plan.

Brett Hannah September 17, 2012 at 10:34 am

Check out http://www.sketchter.com

Watch this video to get a quick idea of what it is: https://vimeo.com/49467812

It’s a completely free shared whiteboard. It’s super realtime so every stroke of your pen is instantly reflected on the screens of all viewers. All changes are saved instantly. Collaboration can be made through URL sharing, so e-mail, twitter etc. ‘Online Now’ shows currently connected users and write permission can be given or removed to any connected users.

Best of all it works perfectly on iPad, iPhone, Android (using Chrome browser) and Desktops!

Full disclosure, I’m the lead developer.

Frederic Vaissade September 10, 2012 at 7:36 am

My need is to have a shared on-line white board to monitor the tasks to be done in several projects.
Dabbleboard was my favourite free on-line white board. I have been using it for a year. It’s a shame that they have to shut it down :(
After reviewing the other solutions, I have decided to try the Google Drive drawings (which has a very interesting offline option).

Alex August 5, 2012 at 1:14 pm

Check out this new white board – http://whiteboard.megascopes.com/. It is lightning fast, many people can use it simultaneously, it is evolving quick, and you require nothing but an HTML5 compatible browser to use it.

Jason Wang March 28, 2012 at 7:42 pm

What about Google Docs? You can open the drawing tool and collaborate in real time with anyone, even those without a Google account. You can simultaneously edit text documents, and even hold a voice conference call with google+

eva January 6, 2012 at 4:08 pm

I tried out Scriblink today, it worked fine, except that I couldn’t get the VOiP to work. Working with Maths a lot, it is great to see the LaTex provided so we can actually use the symbols we need.
In the FAQ it said to be sure to keep the window open until at least one other person who would be in the conference came in as well, so I invited someone to participate with me and he did so directly and all worked fine. I am looking forward to trying it out with some maths buddies for a nice maths chat.

Jagan Reddy October 21, 2011 at 1:53 am

Hello Mike,
My requirement is to be able to use a sharable whiteboard where student and teacher can share one whiteboard. (2) The board should allow using some sort of tablet PC with touch sensitive screen for stylus use for hand writing,

Additonally I am looking for tools so that in the virtual class room I can look INTO the student whiteboard to find out what he/she is struggling.

Are there any choices for me please?

Kian October 11, 2011 at 3:23 am

Give titanpad a try for text only collaboration, definitely worth it…

Paula August 31, 2010 at 8:58 pm

Hi, What about Vyew? That looks pretty good, too.

http://www.vyew.com

David August 21, 2010 at 4:16 pm

If you’re looking for an online whiteboard that works on ipad, check out http://www.groupboard.com

Colleen Young August 9, 2010 at 7:05 am

I am always interested to see this subject. I agree it seems a popular topic. This is one of the most popular posts on my own blog:
http://colleenyoung.wordpress.com/2009/05/16/online-whiteboards/#more-39

Screenr and Sketchcast are both worth a look.

Joel June 20, 2010 at 9:51 pm

Hmmmnnn.. these would be perfect hand in hand with the ipad. But ipad has no flash…. garrrhhhh

K. Walsh June 13, 2010 at 8:14 am

Thanks Sue – I’d love to see an application of how Scribblar looks when used with Second Life. SL has real interesting potential for educators, and I’d love to see some examples of truly interactive educational applications, especially something like using an online whiteboard, shared by multiple participants, as part of the SL experience. (If anyone out there who reads this is doing this sort of thing, please tell us about it! Maybe you’d like to do a guest post about it?).

Also, I’ll add Twiddla to my list of apps to check out (I took a quick peek and it certainly seems that it could belong in the above list).

Sue Hellman/Nunyara Fairlady June 11, 2010 at 2:31 pm

I’ve been looking today for an online whiteboard that will connect in-world (Second Life) and real world users. Dabbleboard and Scribblar both do the job, but Scribblar’s layout is better in-world so that’s the one I”m going with. Thanks for this post and if you want only real world collaboration, take a look at Twiddla. They offer a nice free educator’s upgrade.

Mike Phillips May 30, 2010 at 9:23 pm

I will keep this in mind when I start to teach in case my school does not offer smartboards

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